‘Brazen’ charity bin act stuns locals in affluent Aussie suburb: 'Does it regularly'

The man was caught allegedly taking expensive items out of the Make-a-Wish Foundation charity bin.

Residents of an affluent Aussie suburb are in disbelief after a man was spotted ‘mining’ for expensive items inside a Make-a-Wish Foundation charity bin.

The sight of a pair of legs dangling out of the charity bin in Bondi Junction Eastgate shopping centre in Sydney’s east stopped a local resident named DJ in his tracks. After initially thinking he was stuck inside, concern quickly turned to anger as DJ discovered a collection of expensive items nearby.

“When we found him, it was just this pair of legs sticking out that we thought he might have been actually caught,” DJ told Yahoo News Australia. “And then we realised that things were coming out [of the bin].”

Two images of a charity bin with a man's legs dangling outside of it.
A man was spotted clambering into the Make a Wish charity bin to allegedly take items. Source: Facebook

Man was ‘mining’ charity bin

After believing the person was allegedly stealing from the charity bin, DJ described the act as “mining”. He was reportedly there for up to 15 minutes in the same bin.

“He was leaning on the floor with one hand and going through the bags upside down. He had a head torch on. It was like he was mining. The nimbleness and adeptness of what he was doing would suggest he does it regularly.

“I would suggest that it's a business for him. And I would suggest that he's doing very well in this current economic crisis,” he added.

Disappointed by the act, DJ shared the image to social media, reasoning: “Someone who is that brazen is not gonna listen to somebody telling them not to do it.

“This guy was helping himself to all kinds of stuff. Designer handbags, high-end backpacks, powerful and expensive torch. It wasn't the first time by the look of it.”

While some optimistic commenters thought the person could be looking for items for his family, DJ strongly disagreed. “The argument that he was taking things for his family is absolute bulls**t because the stuff he was taking was high-end stuff. It wasn't like he was getting clothes for his wife and size eight or whatever,” he said.

A wide image of the outside of Bondi Eastgate shopping centre.
Bondi Eastgate shopping centre. Source: ISPT

DJ also claimed he contacted the local council, shopping centre management along with the Make a Wish foundation but little has been done to curb the act from happening again. “No one gives a flying f**k except the charity itself,” he said.

Local donations ‘under threat’

DJ feared the alleged theft may prevent other residents in the area from donating their unwanted items.

“People are thinking they're doing the right thing by putting [their goods] in the bins have a good feeling rather than tossing something out," he said. "That’s [now] threatened.”

Yahoo reached out to Waverley Council and Bondi Eastgate shopping centre who declined to comment on the matter. Make-a-Wish did not respond to requests for comment.

Dangerous act has proven fatal

Climbing into a charity bin is considered a dangerous act, with two women found dead just months apart in 2021. In April, 43-year-old Mikki O’Shea, also known as Charmaine, was found dead by a member of the public trapped in the bin near a shopping centre on the Gold Coast.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman told Yahoo News Australia at the time it appeared the bin lid had come down on the woman. Firefighters had to cut her body free.

In July of the same year, Alarrah Lawrence, 33, was looking inside a Good Sammys clothing donation bin outside a WA shopping centre when she became “trapped and unable to remove herself”, police told reporters. Ms Lawrence was seen on CCTV approaching the bins alone at about 1.40am. Her body was found by a member of the public at around 5am, "half in, half out" of the bin. It's believed she died from asphyxiation.

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